Why seeds make a difference

Beyond Our Food, Our Seeds is the topic at this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club.

By Loretta Fritz

April is the “big” month when it comes to seeding gardens around here.

As usual, I’m behind schedule because my hands intensely dislike working in soil that is cold and wet. No matter. We’re still enjoying overwintered vegetables, including those now in flower and ready to set seed.

There’s a certain personal satisfaction that comes from the cycle of saving and planting your own seeds. On a larger scale, however, there are even more important reasons for doing this.

With the rise of industrial agriculture has come an enormous decrease in genetic seed diversity around the world, setting the stage for potentially devastating crop failures and other negative repercussions of the loss of biodiversity in general. Along the way plants’ nutrition, taste, and adaptability to local conditions have become secondary considerations in the multinationals’ battle for market share.

Small farmers and individual gardeners are often sensitive to these concerns and do what they can to support a more diverse and healthier ecosystem. Others are concerned but have no idea of what role, if any, they can play.

According to Elodie Roger of Metchosin Farm, a seed saving farm and nursery, understanding the bigger picture is key.

Everything, she insists, depends on seeds.

Her passion is evident when she talks about the role seeds play is sustaining communities, cultures, and ecosystems everywhere, and just how easy it is for anyone to gather and save seeds.

Beyond Our Food, Our Seeds is the topic at this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club. Guest speaker Elodie Roger will be talking about the dynamics behind seed saving: What’s happening around the world now? Why do we save seeds? What difference does it make? She will share what she has learned on her journey “backwards” from general plant ecology and agriculture to conservation to seeds.

With a master’s degree in conservation and rural development and work experiences in a variety of countries and communities, Elodie looks at seed saving through a unique lens. She integrates the scientific, historical, and practical aspects of this most fundamental activities.

Join us Wednesday, April 27, 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road.

The meeting will also feature a parlour show and a member plant sale. Contest potatoes will again be available. New members are always welcome. Annual fee: $15. Questions? Visit our website at sookegardenclub.ca or email sookegc@gmail.com.

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Loretta Fritz writes for the Sooke Garden Club.